Discovery broadcasts more than 100 TV channels across Europe from its headquarters in west London, making it the biggest broadcaster to use the UK as a hub for the continent. Around 100 jobs will be affected as it moves the playout of the non-live channels to the cloud and consolidating the physical broadcast centre into one facility, based in Sterling, US.
“This is part of our vision to move to a more agile operational technology model,” a spokeswoman for Discovery said. “This has nothing to do with Brexit and everything to do with technology innovation being core to our company and brand. This migration to the cloud is a global initiative that has been underway for a while.”
The move from London to Sterling is part of Discovery’s plan to move all global playout to its state-of-the-art media distribution facility in Sterling, Virginia, which currently originates over 80 global feeds, to become Discovery’s global technology centre.
The Northern Virginia Technology Hub features modern digital technology, recently upgraded to take full advantage of live playout capabilities, increased nonlinear publishing and, most recently, the company’s industry-leading efforts to move all Discovery US networks origination to the cloud. The company is using Amazon Web Services for global distribution.
Beyond Northern Virginia, the company also plans to have a technology footprint in Knoxville and maintain several other international locations to service its global technical operations.
The group will continue to employ 1,300 people in the UK, where it makes programmes and broadcasts 16 channels to British viewers. Playout of non-live channels will be moved elsewhere, and it will look to develop the London centre as a hub for sport and live broadcasting. However, Discovery already has a major sports TV facility in Paris.
For the moment, Discovery will continue to hold all of its TV licences with the UK broadcasting regulator, Ofcom. However, if a Brexit TV deal is not struck, the broadcaster might move to facilities in the Netherlands or Poland.